State fairs are traditionally about old-fashioned, all-American family fun — corn dogs, competitions and maybe a musical concert. The Missouri State Fair on Saturday also featured a bit of racism on the side, according to a blog post from Show Me Progress.
The offense centered on a rodeo clown masquerading as President Obama and a query from the announcer, Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and Boonville School Superintendent, about whether the crowd wanted to see him run down by a bull.
"The crowd went wild. He asked it again and again, louder each time, whipping the audience into a lather. One of the clowns ran up and started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy," spectator Perry Beam reported to the website. "Finally, a bull came close enough to him that he had to move, so he jumped up and ran away to the delight of the onlookers hooting and hollering from the stands."
Representatives from the Missouri State Fair and the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association issued statements denouncing the incident.
"[The] performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday’s event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair. We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday’s rodeo badly missed that mark," the fair's spokesperson Kari Mergen said in a statement to KMOX News.
Several state lawmakers also weighed in, calling the incident "disrespectful,"
"shameful," "ugly" and "unacceptable."
On Sunday, the man behind the Obama mask, Tuffy Gensler, apologized for his "joke" in a Facebook post, stating that he "never ment [sic] to offend or hurt anyone's feelings."
The announcer, Beam, appeared to have no regrets, however, and later posted videos of the incident online.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Jameson Hsieh)